Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Accelerated Distance Learning-great possibilites

One of the vendors of the Christian Heritage Home educators of Washington conference this year was College plus, a company based on the process of earning college credits at home while still in the high school years. Being a lifestyle of learning and entrepreneurial minded proponent, I fudge a little on the whole college process. The whole system of earning credits in some else's artificial educational system rubs me the wrong way. True Education is something you earn through life, is self motivated and not something that is standardized and accredited. However, we live in the real world and if my child wanted to be an engineer or has gifts, abilities and a desire to be an astronaut, somewhere along the line that child is going to have to fit into the mainstream educational process. This book tells you how.

If you have facilitated in your child that desire to learn and he has developed the learning tools, by the time he is in his mid to late teens he may be ready to fit within an educational mold and not be too damaged by it. Ryan Yamane (a distance learning graduate)is the CEO for College Plus and his company provides educational planning to achieve some educational goals that can direct parents and teens to the least amount of time and money wasted. Many children can have a degree finished by 18 or 20 and with a small fraction of the costs and exposure to the damaging effects of today's college culture.

Even though I am a believer in teaching your child entrepreneurial skills and opportunities to earn those experiences, additional education is not wrong and if they must pass through college, this is the best way to do it. Check out this book(first)and get started in the thinking process that may well lead your child into a successful launch into life with an added bonus- a higher education early without all the garbage that goes with it and at a fraction of the cost.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Expelled, the Movie"-You gotta see it!

Science aught to be the pursuit of truth! Every teen at home needs to see a great movie just hot off the reels at just about any theater near you right now. It is called, "Expelled, the Movie," and is written unexpectedly by a comedian who doesn't find the erosion of certain freedoms in this country very funny. Written in documentary form Ben Stein interviews several scientists and professors who have been released, let go or downright fired for any association they might have had with Intelligent Design. This movie attempts to expose the manipulation of the established Evolutionary Science community and associated their actions with that of a few other dangerous worldviews that have had devastating historical consequences.

Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit says, .... our family just saw this film. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. I recommend taking the whole family to see it or buy the DVD when it comes out.

For a trailer on this film and a commentary by Lee Strobel click here

For further discussion after you see the movie, and for those old and wise enough go to Expelled Exposed for the National Center for Science Education' expose on the movie. You may even be able to win prizes for "setting Ben straight" (tongue in cheek)

Go to Richard Dawson's blog (a stout antiGod evolutionist interviewed in the movie) and hear his scathing rebuttle of Expelled, the movie
Younger children might also find this movie interesting but there are a few quick scenes of the Jewish holocaust and if old enough to recognize the bodies might find it disturbing. If your child is able to discern worldviews well then that may be a good readiness sign to see this movie.
Also, several visual references are made to naziism and it may well be missed by children not well versed in the ideals of those worldviews.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Consider what God’s Word says about children’s education

Another great article by JulieBeth Lamb! I love the way she personalizes each verse.
Therefore do not worry, saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink,
or what shall we wear? (or what shall we teach? or how can we afford it?) for after all these things the gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things, but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, (and point your children there continually) and all these things (the education and materials your children need) shall be added unto you (and them) Matthew 6:31-33.

And you, fathers (and mothers), do not provoke your children to wrath (by
teaching them secular views that are contrary to God’s Word and take them out
from under His protection), but bring them up in the training and admonition of
the Lord (all day, not just when the government’s hours of training are over)
and having good will doing service (learning the important lessons of serving
family and community), as to the Lord (through whom all things are possible) and
not to men (from whom we should be set apart) Ephesians 6:4,7.

God will feed (and provide everything needed) His flock like a shepherd, He
will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom (and make sure
they are prepared for His good plan, with His work and through His people, not
with government curriculum) and gently lead those who are with young (in the
right way to educate their children for Him) Isaiah 40:11.

For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord (plans from His
word for your protection and guidance, your obedience and preparation for His
use) plans of peace and not of evil (so you don’t have to be afraid to just
trust and follow His ways and not man’s ways)to give you a future and a hope
(our hope lies in loving and fearing God) then you will call upon Me and find Me
and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you (and your schooling concerns)
and you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart
(God will be found in prayer, His Word and Godly curriculum, He will not be
found in government school curriculum and ideas) Jeremiah29:11-13.

Train up a child in the way he should go (discipling him in God’s ways, by
His instruction) and when he is old he will not depart from it (he will love God
and obedience to Him and will have been walking with Him through the school
years) Proverbs 22:6.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might (and
with your school time) And these words which I command you today shall be in
your heart, you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of
them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down,
and when you rise up (all the time! everywhere! that includes school, especially
school since it’s their training, the path you are preparing for their future)
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (God’s
word should always be before our eyes, including in our school books and our
“classroom”) Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble,
it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were
thrown into the sea (as parents we have a great privilege and responsibility to
protect and train these little ones as God intends, never putting them into a
situation or training them with curriculum that could cause them to stumble) Mark 9:42.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present
your bodies (and every moment of our lives) a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable
to God, which is your reasonable service (not defiled by ungodly training). And
do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind (by a constant focus on God and His Word), that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God (we must be set apart from the
traditions of the world and pressures from others who say that it would be too
hard or costly to follow God rather than the world’s way. We must trust God that
if we allow Him to guide our children’s steps, through a Godly school life as
well as a Godly home life He will conform them to His righteousness and prepare
them for His usefulness) Romans 12:2.

May the God of Grace show you His way to educate the children He has
entrusted to you.

JulieBeth Lamb thanks God for allowing these words to flow through her and prays they are a blessing to others as God has allowed them to bless her. She and her husband Rex are the leaders of a homeschool group in Oakdale, California. They have been homeschooling their five children since 1993 and have three still to graduate. Contact her at Cowgirl4Ever@clearwire.net or 209-838-6062

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Freebees-act fast!

Every once in a while I will be posting a few freebees as I come across them. Here is one you might want to send for... if you children are into art, or these pastels just might inspire them to start!

Pentel Arts is giving away a free 12 color oil pastel set perhousehold address.
Go to http://www.pentelarts.com/offer.php register &enter the
promotional code SA2008. Offer expires 4/30/08.

(IF you have trouble connecting directly though this link, cut and paste into your browser. For some reason that is the only way I could get it to work.)

If you come across free offers that would be of value the homeschool families or natural healthy living, let me know. I just may want to post it on my site for all to take advantage of.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What is True Education? by JulieBeth Lamb

What is real education? Well, the Noah Webster's 1828 American dictionary of the English language says it is the bringing up, as of a child. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.

To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable. As homeschooling parents we need to remember that education means training up our children in the way they should go, spiritually, socially and educationally, in that order. Our goal is raising up our children to be Godly, hard working, socially responsible, good neighbors and friends who are literate and have good sense.

Knowing God is the number one goal for our children. I want them to really know God, to understand Him, who He is and always has been, in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and today. It is important for them to build a real faith of their own, not just out of obedience to us.

Daily devotional time, including Bible reading, prayer and a quiet listening time, is a habit best learned at a young age. Family Bible time gives a safe forum for asking questions and really delving into the Word. Catechisms of the faith teach children the fundamentals as a foundation for the adult decision for the Lord we are all praying our children will make.

Hard Work prepares a child to be successful in every segment of life. As an employee, husband/wife, business person, church leader or friend it is necessary to work hard for those activities to flourish. It is our responsibility to train our children to work hard, respect authority, follow the rules, think of others, be prompt, go above and beyond, use common sense and thoughtfulness in every endeavor and do every thing as unto the Lord, for His glory.

Service to Others gives children a sense of themselves and that they are an integral part of this big world they live in. We need to be giving to others because they are important, and children can serve because they have been given gifts by God to share with those around them. Some of our children will run with this concept and organize large scale service projects, but the child who rakes the leaves in an elderly neighbor’s yard is sharing God’s grace is an equally significant way.

Citizenship means so much to many of us homeschool parents because it is our involvement in our communities, local government, lobbying and campaigning that has bought our homeschool freedoms and keep them secure. We need to include our children at every age, not to brainwash them to believe what we say they should think, but to help them understand that each person is important in our democracy.

Children need to understand the founding fathers’ principles and reasons for setting up a representative government. The Biblical principles that guide a Christian’s understanding and response to our government need to be ingrained in our children. Visits to state legislators, the courthouse, and an election office are valuable for every age.

Cultural Literacy doesn’t mean our children understand all the teen slang or have read every popular novel. It does mean that they can read books and have conversations fully understanding all the geographical, literary, historic and cultural references. I don’t care if my children can recite all of the state capitals, but I do want them to understand that when a person says they come from the coast of Maine that it is a cold climate full of small fishing towns. And it isn’t necessary that they listen to opera sound tracks all day long, but they need to know that opera is sung with a strong voice and often in a foreign language.

Broad experiences with different locations, art, literature, music, and cultures under the safe care of parents who can interpret them in the light of scripture will bring that element of cultural literacy to your children.

Reading Good Books is the backbone of a quality education. For little ones it means reading aloud as a family, when they get older they can participate in the reading. Delving into a classic will take a child to a different world and time, introducing them to unique characters and beautiful language. High quality abridged versions and even good videos allow more of these stories to be shared. “Every age has its blind spots. The antidote to this condition is to read old books. The people in other times had different blind spots than we do and the light of their understanding reveals the dark spaces in our own. That is what a true education should do” C.S. Lewis.

Appreciating the Arts can be a daunting task if we allow it to be. Learning to love the beauty that God has blessed man with in art, music and culture doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We don’t need to be experts to help our children grow in the arts. Today there are many tools for homeschoolers who desire them. But simple tasks of listening to different types of music, looking at a variety of artwork, and discussing them in the light of God’s Word is enough to give our children an appreciation for the arts and those who have been gifted to share them with us.

Suitable Book Learning IS homeschooling to many families. While this is a necessary part of preparing our children to live and work in this world and allows Christians to be a good witness, it is at the bottom of my priority list. This can be an intimidating part for many, trying to find just the right curriculum. Colorful catalogs and well meaning friends can just make it more difficult.

It is so special to help our children learn to read and write, understand mathematical principles and grasp the wonders of creation and our providential history.
Sometimes it takes extensive trial and error to determine what type of education works best for our students and their teachers. We need to find explicitly Christian materials that give our children glimpses of God’s greatness in creating language, numbers, creation, colors, everything! It is important not to exasperate our children with unrealistic expectations.

Training up a child in the way he should go doesn’t just mean learning obedience to God, but also growing in the path God has chosen for him allowing for the bents he has been blessed with. If you are having trouble choosing a suitable educational style and appropriate materials for your family, talk to lots of moms and dads. Choose those who have been homeschooling for several years and have been successful in the long term. Take what they say and use whatever works for you and discard what doesn’t apply to your family. You will begin to see a picture of what is best suited for your family homeschool.

There is no magic homeschool bullet that will make your children smart and lovely. But our God of grace has good plans for our children that are higher than ours, plans for a future and a hope. Lots of quantity time from both mom and dad with our children, and even more quantity time on our knees talking with and listening to our Lord will help us have the wisdom we need to understand those plans and be partners with God in preparing our children for them.

JulieBeth Lamb thanks God for allowing these words to flow through her and prays they are a blessing to others as God has allowed them to bless her. She and her husband Rex are the leaders of a homeschool group in Oakdale, California. They have been homeschooling their five children since 1993 and have three still to
graduate (until May 2008 when there will only be two left in school). Contact
her at Cowgirl4Ever@clearwire.net or 209-838-6062.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

That's my son!

The Christian Heritage Conference was amazing. We are all exhausted from a wonderfully inspiring weekend with hundreds (1300+) of fellow homeschool families. The speakers were incredible. The location was perfect and the performances were excellent. My hats off to the wonderful board of home educating families that serve the Lord though the ministry of this conference and other events that you serve in so expertly. You know an event was executed perfectly when it comes off without a hitch. They make it look so easy! It is a pleasure knowing you all.

Oh and...there he is, do you see him? The tall handsome young man in the front row....that is my son! Forgive me my maternal pride , but I think he sang the best!
(Actually both of my sons are in this picture but I could not catch my oldest sons head out from behind the guy in front of him. He is directly behind Graydon, up three rows, and over to the right one person.... completely behind someone's ones head.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Empowerment of a Budget!

These last few days have been a flurry of flying papers and calculators beeping. (Our calculator's make beeps every time a number or function is pressed.)

We just completed a high school "Math" course by Dave Ramsey, called Financial Peace for the Next Generation He is a very humorous and demonstrative speaker who absolutely captured my boys attention.

The course consists of about 7 DVDs and some accompanying materials and a workbook. They looked forward every day to seeing his animated antics and his straight shooting style. They are motivated. Out come the calculators and they devise a written financial plan, otherwise known as a budget.

One of the best real world math exercises is to have your children set up a written on paper budget. Many have a budget in their minds but unless it is written down you WILL end up spending the same dollar twice, or three times or more!

We set up the following categories, each with their own account page that is stored in a small three ring binder. Each separate account is a goal or priority for their income disbursement. A paycheck dispersement form (we made up) is used to determing what goes where on each payday when we go the bank.

Wealth Account- I require that they save (keep) 10% of their income for the rest of their lives in what we call their wealth account. (See book recommendation below)

Giving- I also have suggested they have a planned giving amount, perhaps 10 % or more.

Car-Next is the major savings areas of their lives and since my oldest son at home is now 17 his first priority in savings is to pay cash for a car, in due season, perhaps not for 3 or more years but it is a plan for him to have a car around that time. This next category takes the majority of his income since it will be the first large amount due.

Home-Next is his house account. Yes, I do believe it is possible for children to save for a house first. It would be a great goal to save the entire purchase amount but more likely if they can save a sizable amount as a down payment they will be much further ahead with a short term mortgage plan.

Family Gifts- They calculated a certain amount to be deposited into this account monthly for Christmas and other family gifts

Fun- No budget is complete without some plain old fun money. This is actually a Biblical principle when God told the old Testament patriarchs to budget 10% for celebrations and feasts.

Both boys are set up now with checking accounts and debit cards and are required to keep them up to date in their accounting books.

After their budget is set up we discussed a plan for their savings. I love seeing how their eyes light up when they envision the possibilities of compound interest. We then went down to our local bank and opened a Certificate of Deposit (CD) for their lifetime savings and short term savings, all the money that they have collected so far. Now, I know that a term deposit is not really a good investment at all but it is better than sitting in a savings account earning .5 of a percent. Instead they will receive a whopping 3 percent per year for the term of four months. During the term of the CD we will be researching other more productive options that they can invest in that are still somewhat liquid but that will allow for a much better return. We are trying to determine the possibility of a Roth IRA. The deposit rules are slightly difficult for us as non citizens and under age children as well but as soon as we can determine if we are going to be able to fall within the boundaries we will be pursuing this possibility.

Another really inspiring book that has informed and motivated my children is The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason written in the 1920's. Apparently the book was originally written to be issued as promotional pamphlets distributed to prospective bank clients with the intent of teaching them to save- therefore ultimately benefiting the bank.

Clason's time tested classic has sold over 1.5 million copies and is a must read for anyone interested in achieving financial success. The principles embodied in the book are, in the author's words, "a cure for a lean purse."

The book is a collection of short stories that all revolve around five basic concepts:

Money comes to those who save.
Money multiples for those who invest it.
Money stays with the person who entrusts it to wise people.
Money is lost when invested in things with which you are not familiar.
Money is lost at a fast rate by pursuing get-rich-quick schemes.

I think I will make this required reading or listening the audio of The Richest Man in Babylon - The Success Secrets of the Ancients" each year for the next few years until these habits are firmly achieved.

Look for a future post on a list of books and resources for financial planning that are must reads for any child before he reaches his adult years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mother Culture- I Love Being a Woman.

Today was an unusual day. We did not do much school work at all: just didn't have time, but we did enjoy a rich education. In preparation for the upcoming Christian Heritage and Family Discipleship Conference in which my boys were singing in the chorale, we all sat at the piano and plunked out parts. I'm not at all very good at reading music anymore. I used to love and live for band class where I became very proficient in a couple of brass instruments. But that was so long ago, and without much practice my music reading abilities have gone down hill. But nevertheless we all sat around and laughed, and prodded, and lifted our voices in praise in some really great hymns of the faith.

Later, after dinner was in the crock pot, Graydon (15) and I went out to Value Village to find a white long sleeve shirt and a black bow tie, standard fare for the performances. I figured the shirt would be easy but as I suspected not one bow tie to be found. Oh well, I looks like I will be doing the same as last year when I made my oldest sons tie. I was hoping that I still had black fabric at home along with the red striped bow tie that I will take apart to use the metal clip.

No such forethought.

I did not even have any black fabric but I did have some very, very, dark blue silk that I had planned on cutting off the bottom of my favorite silk blouse that was too long. Ha, it will work! I did not have to go out again! So, after dinner I went upstairs to work on the bow tie, and in short order it was finished. Graydon glowed with pride when I told him that a silk bow tie is extra special! No one else will have a silk bow tie at the chorale! Later in the evening I took one boy at a time and went over some more parts and we laughed and really enjoyed ourselves!

What would our family be like if I worked all day! What if I had 6 loads of laundry to do and had a headache from traffic stress? What if I had to pick up a weeks groceries on the way home, arriving after 7 to start dinner? What if I had chores to line up and homework to check and attitudes to get back in line?

What would it be like? My life would not be rich with Mother culture! Mother culture is the special home type of nurturing and emotional security that only a tender and a loving mother can provide. She is there to do whatever is needed, whenever it is needed. She is flexible, creative, productive and resourceful. All these things add to the culture of the home making it a wonderful place to nurture and raise children.

I am grateful for the priviledge of staying home full time, even though that too has its challenges but I would not want to ever miss out on the wonderful benefits of developing my womanhood and growing the value of mother culture in my family. I know my boys will also want their wives to stay home and be all they can be to serve their families as well.

Life is good when we are doing what God has called us to do. Thank you, Lord for making me a woman; for creating in me a desire to be a homemaker and giving me the ability to do it to the best of my ability.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Christian Heritage Home Education and Discipleship Conference.

I cannot wait. The annual Christian Heritage and Family Discipleship Conference is one of the best (homeschool) conferences I have ever attended, and over the past 18 years of educating my children at home, I have attended many conferences. Most of them were very good, instructional and informative but this conference is inspirational. The vision of the Washington State Christian Heritage conference is to inspire home discipleship as the first and foremost priority and after that all other necessary ingredients to a child's successful upbringing (education) will gracefully fall in place. Once this order is put in place, a wonderfully secure home will produce children that will want to stay home with you more than almost anything else in the world. And I'm talking through the teenage years!

If you live close enough or if you will be in the Seattle area next weekend, April 17-19, 2008, please drive, fly or crawl your way to this conference with this years big name speaker Douglas Phillips of Vision Forum. This week I'll be a little tied up serving and helping out so I may not be able to post as much but will definitely once I get a free moment. I know I will want to share the excitement of the moment with you......maybe even a picture or two.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chore and Household skills by Age.

I cannot believe this list is still on the Internet. I printed it off of HomeschoolTools.org site 7 or 8 years ago and have found it and lost it several times. What I like about it is that I can use it as a guideline for what to work on next once my child reaches a certain age. By the time my child is 13 and on his way to being an adult these are SOME of the skills I would like him to mastered and can do without complaining or procrastination. (note the emphasis on character instead of just getting it done.) It must be done skillfully AND cheerfully.

Each list builds on the list before it, and does not usually repeat chores already listed. Thus, in planning chores for a ten-year old, you might use ideas from the 5-7 age group as well as the 8-12 age group. Allow for variation in families and the abilities of individual children. This list is only meant to provide ideas and does not imply that children should perform all the chores on the lists.

Age: 2-4
Wash your hands, Brush your teeth, Put away your pajamas Make your bed, Pick up your toys, Dress yourself, Clear your place at the table, Wipe up a spill, Help dust the furniture,
Set the table, Put away silverware from Put dirty laundry in the hamper, Feed a pet dish washer or drying rack

Age: 5-7
Leave the bathroom neat, Take the dirty clothes to LR, Fold laundry with supervision
Put away clean clothes, Help rake the yard, Pull weeds, Water flowers, Sweep patio or side walk Help to clean inside of car, Help to wash the car, Shake out rugs, Straighten your drawers and closet, Sweep kitchen floor, Mop floors, Wipe counter in kitchen
Help prepare meals (e.g. peel vegetables, tear lettuce) Put dishes away, Wipe chairs and table legs, Empty trash cans, Clean marks on walls and doors, Shine windows with help, Shine mirrors with help Scrub bathroom sinks, Wipe counters in bathroom, Clear the table, Help to wash and dry dishes, Load & turn on dishwasher with help, Operate washer & dryer with help, Help to put away groceries, Get the mail, Tie shoes, Bring in firewood, Make your own lunch, Feed pets and groom them, Care for younger siblings while parents are at home, Clean pet cages, Straighten up a room, Put away dishes.

Age: 8-12
Put away groceries, Make simple recipes, Serve breakfast or lunch to younger children, Clean kitchen after a meal, Scrub kitchen floor, Change the bed sheets, Sort clothes and load washer Load and operate dryer (including cleaning lint trap on dryer) Hang clothes on the line, Fold and put away clean laundry, Vacuum floors, Vacuum carpeted stairs, Vacuum couches and chairs Dust furniture and window sills,Clean walls, Clean front of kitchen cabinets, CleanTV and computer, Knows proper use and precautions for cleaning supplies, Clean bathroom completely Wash the car, Help to polish car, Help to clean interior of car, Water indoor plants, Water the yard, Rake the yard, Weed the garden, Clean pet cages and fish bowls, Walk a pet, Train a pet Answer phone and make a call, Write thank you notes, Repair torn books, Help bathe younger children, Dress younger children, Polish shoes, Pack own clothes for a trip, Trim your own nails, Pack a picnic, Decorate for a party, Polish silverware, Sew buttons

Age 13-adult
Replace light bulbs safely, Change vacuum bags and belt, Wash windows inside and out, Clean fireplace, Polish wood furniture and cabinets, Babysit, Clean out refrigerator and identify spoiled food,Clean the stove and oven, Plan a balanced meal, Make a grocery list, Know how to treat stains, Shop for groceries, Cook Balanced meals, Hand-wash delicate clothes, Iron clothes, Basic mending, Mow the lawn Trim bushes, Polish car, Put gas in the car, Oil a bicycle, Oil squeaky hinges, etc. Putty dents in walls, Help paint interior walls, Use caulk, Scrape paint,
Help paint exterior of house, Strip and wax floors, Clean bathroom grout.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - You will not believe this!

This Wacky Wednesday post is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It still blows me away after seeing this video for 5 - 6 times. I think we have completely unestimated these amazing and beloved animals.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two recipes- One for Chaos and One for Achievment

The Recipes for Chaos and Achievement
I read this article and a response from Former Elijah company's owner and mom to three homeschooled kids, Ellen Davis in a newsletter I subscribe to and wanted to share it with you. The article is by Dr. Phillip E. Humbert (Copyright (c) 2006, all rights reserved. Contact him at: www.philiphumbert.com or email: Coach@philiphumbert.com.him

We all want lives of achievement, health, happiness and some measure ofwealth. And yet, the vast majority end up leading relatively average, middle-class lives. How can this be? How can so many of the world's most educated people end up working paycheck to paycheck?

I think the answers are pretty simple.

Most of us were never taught HOW to create and live a great life! We don't
study this in school. We admire people who have done great things, but no one
coaches us, no one shows us the way. And so we stumble. We struggle. We ARE
educated, ambitious, educated people and we do the best we can, but without the
basic recipe, too often we get only average results.

So, I want to share with you two of the most important "recipes" I know. I teach these formulas to my coaching clients and I want to share them with you. My price? Only this: If you find them helpful, I ask that you pass them on to at least two other people. Forward this email, or print it out and mail it to two friends. I hope you're willing to do that.

Ok, here we go.

The Recipe for Chaos
The first recipe is what I call the recipe for chaos.
It goes like this:

Impulse + Opportunity = Chaos

Every day, we all have impulses to study or to spend, to do our work or to
watch television. Impulses are merely ideas that pop into our brains and
momentarily catch our attention. The problem is that they are relatively random
and too many are based on casual appetites or unhealthy temptations. There's
nothing inherently bad or wrong with our impulses, but there is nothing
inherently good or trustworthy about them, either.

And, too often our impulses get matched with opportunity for instant
gratification. Here's how it works.

Consider the impulse to spend, combined with a credit card in your wallet.
Too often, the result is casual debt, and that can be a problem. Or how about
the impulse to watch television (just one show), combined with a beautiful new
TV in the family room? Too often, the result is wasted time. You see the

Impulses happen. When we surround ourselves with opportunities for instant
gratification, the result can be a life lurching out of control.

The Recipe for Achievement
Now, consider another recipe, the one for achievement.
Here it is:

Desire + Discipline = Achievement

"Desire" comes from Latin words that mean "of the father." Our deepest
desires represent our true longings, our mission or purpose or values in life.
When we are clear about our real DESIRES and combine them with a disciplined
life, the results can be astonishing!

Jonas Salk had the DESIRE to prevent polio and the DISCIPLINE to do the
research, study his notes and make the discoveries. The results changed the

Mary Kay Ash (of Mary Kay Cosmetics) had the DESIRE to help single moms
like herself, and the DISCIPLINE to find a way. She had no money (she started
with $500) and no business experience, but she pressed forward. She changed an
industry and helped millions of women in the process.

Random impulses in a world of undisciplined opportunity can lead to chaos,
debt, and disaster. Knowing your deepest DESIRES and matching them with even
minimal DISCIPLINE, however, is the recipe for achievement. When Stephen Covey
talks about "starting with the end in mind," he's talking about being clear
about your desires. When we talk about written goals, we're talking about strong
desires. When you know what you truly want, and go after it with discipline and
determination, the results are astounding.

That's the recipe for achievement!

Below are my (Ellen Davis) thoughts about this article.

What Does This Have to Do With Home Schooling?

Well, if you're like me, there have been times your home schooling has been chaotic and there have been times you have actually felt a sense of achievement and accomplishment. The same two recipes apply. When I look back on the times of chaos in my home schooling (or in my life, for that matter), they pretty much followed Dr. Humbert's recipe:

Impulse + Opportunity = Chaos.

Except I would add another ingredient to his recipe. Mine would go like
this:Impulse + Justification + Opportunity = Chaos-First there was the impulse.
It usually happened at a bookfair or at a support group meeting. It went like
this...."Oh my gosh! Janey's been using this really neat program that teaches
her kids how to be math whizzes in three weeks! I want to try that with my
kids!"After the impulse usually came the justification. My mind would come up
with all sorts of rationalizations as to why I needed to spend the grocery money
on this new program. "This will give my kids a brighter future. This will allow
them to do better on their ACTs. And besides, I can always sell it to another
home schooler when I'm done with it."

Next came the opportunity. I just log onto a website, pull out my credit
card, and, before I know it, I've bought the $300 math program, rearranged my
whole school schedule, and voila! all of the ingredients have been added to the
mix to create a big batch of chaos. Then comes the chaos.

Six weeks later the expensive math program is sitting on the bookcase shelf
in the garage and I'm trying to restore order to an out of control schedule and
frantically catching everyone up on what we missed in our regular math program
by taking our detour into becoming math whizzes.This isn't to say that we
shouldn't divert from our plans.

When things are obviously not working, it's time to reconsider our options
and regroup. This is called experience not impulse.Or, on a beautiful spring
day, we may want to put the regular school materials aside and take a nature
walk to just enjoy the changing season. This is called spontaneity, not impulse.
The difference between experience or spontaneity and impulse is that experience
and spontaneity occur within a structure of desire and discipline. Dr. Humbert
calls it "disciplined opportunity."Somehow, we've gotten the idea that
"discipline" is a dirty word. It's usually associated with punishment of some

Chaos is, by its very definition, a state of extreme confusion, disorder,
and unpredictability. Discipline refers to order, predictability, and
clarity.Discipline is simply the act of creating a context of in which order,
predictability, and clarity is more prevalent than confusion, disorder, and
unpredictability. True creativity and accomplishment can only occur in such a

I have a friend who grow up in a very abusive, chaotic home and she has
tended to continually recreate her childhood once she became an adult. She's in
counseling right now, and this week the counselor zeroed in on chaos. The
essence of her advice to my friend was to try and become aware of the process
that goes on when she creates chaos--the feelings, the actions, the thoughts.

In other words, she should start trying to be mindful of how she creates
chaos. Now that we know the recipe, we can also become more mindful of why we
create chaos in our lives. And we can choose achievement instead.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Dirty Dozen!

Have you noticed?
Everything eatable seems to be going up. The pressure it puts on a grocery budget seems crushing at times. In my goal of reducing expenditures in the grocery cart this quarter, I am focusing deeper and harder on ways to economize and get more value for the same dollar. On the other hand I do not want to sacrifice quality foods- real foods or exchange them for fake white flour, artificial flavors or heated oil versions that may seem like a better deal but will only turn those savings now in medical bills later, not to mention pain and suffering-something I am radically opposed to (the pain and suffering part)

So in a short series of posts I will be sharing what I am doing now and have done in the past to eat (well) without paying (in pain) later.

I'd like to start with what may seem like a contradiction..... buy organic!

Hold on.

There is a balance between paying now and paying later. There are some things that I will not compromise on. One of them is oil. I will not buy grocery store oils. They have been heated (increasing the chances of turning rancid quickly) clarified, bleached and filtered and stabilized to look pretty on grocery store shelves. But using a good natural oil, organic if possible, but certainly cold pressed is absolutely number one on my list.

The next items on my organic list is shown in the Top Dirty Dozen below. If you can, go organic, if not do not fret, but do the best you can. My improvements are in brackets.

beef - and all meat, I presume
milk - raw is best
coffee - limited consumption
peaches - peeling maybe acceptable but is probably not be enough due to the soft nature of the fruit. I'd pass them by if they were not organic. I've seen them spray.
apples - wash well or even peel if not organic
peppers - red is healthiest
celery - Difficult to find organic celery and is often small and tougher when you do
strawberry-I had a naturopath tell me never eat a non organic strawberry
lettuce - grow your own perhaps?
grapes - includes raisins
tomatoes - including canned

If you can purchase these items organic you will be better odd in the long run. Next best is at a farmers market where the produce is generally fresher than in grocery stores. And if you can buy directly from the farmer himself you will be even better off because the chances are better that he has a small farm will use more sustainable practices even though he may not be certified organic.

Then to relieve some of the budget pressure if you had to pay a little more for good quality here are the top ten that are not as necessary to purchase organic.

asparagus, avocado, banana, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, mango, onion, papaya, pineapple (I have yet to see an organic pineapple anyway)

So on to saving money. Keeping in mind the number one organic food on the dirty dozen list I am just about ready to purchase a side of grass fed organically raised beef. I think I have found a really great deal at $2.50 per lb. You cannot even buy regular ground beef for 2.5o per pound here in Seattle anymore.

That brings me to one of my tips. Shop around. I had to research on line for about an hour or more to find this farm, email them, wait for a reply and then place an order but it has saved me perhaps 1.50 per lb. Most of the other places I found charge $3.50 - $4.00 per pound with cut and wrap on top.

So what I will be saving on my meat supply, I will be pouring into some organic produce this summer.

Tomorrow I will share some ideas that may or may not be profound to you but have helped to save over the long run on good clean healthy food.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My First Raw Restaurant!

Today I did another first in my life. My Husband and I ate at Chaco Canyon Cafe - an almost completely raw restaurant in downtown Seattle. Seattle is not the mecca of raw food eating establishments and in my search so far have only located one. More of a cafe bistro feel that a restaurant, it was still enjoyable and we got to try a few interesting dishes.

I really wanted to order about three entrees knowing I could probably eat them all anyway since you can eat much more raw food and not feel as full or stuffed. But I did restrain myself and ordered only a raw pizza and a side salad. Elvis ordered a Egyptian pea soup and sandwich. (He was too chicken to go all raw) The food was very good and to top it all off we shared two desserts. One was a raspberry Tart and the other carrot cake. The Raspberry Tart won hands down and I am determined to make it at home once I figure out all the ingredients and their priority.

I have also been viewing the DVD set that I purchased from Amazon, The Raw Gourmet 3-DVD Set They are live demonstrations of Noni Shannon "Cooking" several dishes that are in her book,The Raw Gourmet which is a thorough collection of all kinds of foods, company and everyday banquets. The DVDs were quite pricey but since we are book sellers anyway, I knew we could sell the set again once I had viewed them so I will list them in the next few days.

For someone who is making a huge jump from a regular SAD diet (Standard American Diet) her videos might be a real kick start if you were starting from scratch. Since I have been on this road for a long time I found them a little basic but still interesting. It is nice to see someone proficient at a new method quickly preparing beautiful dishes before your very eyes.

I am off to try raspberry tart, the recipe made up from scratch. I'm sure it will take several tries so when I get it perfected I'll post is as a new recipe. Have a great day tomorrow.

If you have a new favorite recipe that is either raw or almost raw give me a comment or two. I'd love to hear it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A REAL high school education!

As I'm contemplating the end of what I view as my children's formal education at home I am thinking about all the principles and concepts I still need to teach them before I release them to the world.

They need discernment skills and wisdom in relationships. I want to caution them in aggressive and unscrupulous women. I need to equip them with skills to survive in this dog eat dog world. (not trying to be negative but there is competition out there) But most of all I want them to be well equipped with a worldview that is rock solid steady, immovable, absolute and deeply embedded.

As much as I believe in protecting our children from outside error and harmful influences I also believe it is vitally important to expose them while still in the home (in due time) to error and teach them how to discern that error correctly and to expose those lies by applying the grid of truth, the Bible.

Since there is nothing new under the sun, this will give them patterns to group error into age old heretical philosophies that started a long time ago. Teaching them to discern and apply the word of truth also gives them the opportunity to "study and show themselves approved unto God." They see first hand that the Word of God is a double edged sword capable of dividing truth from error and is every bit applicable today as it was thousands of years ago.

We had an excellent opportunity this morning to discuss the blatant error of Oprah Winfrey's new church and spiritual teaching classes. A friend passed on the you tube link and I previewed it and then thought it would be excellent to hear what my boys thought of what she had to say.

Click here: YouTube - The Church of Oprah Exposed

We spent several hours afterward discussing the error and the possible reasons that she or anyone could possibly believe in these ridiculous deceptions. They seemed to be out of this world to us but to the undiscerning there is mass appeal.

After viewing the video for the second time I asked them to raise their hands at the first subtle indicator of the New Age philosophy. (a test) They both picked up the first one and just about every one after that. We may go back and study each of these indicators and compare them with the Truth.

One of my mentor friends used to say, "Without Biblical conviction you WILL go the way of culture. (whatever way the wind is blowing in your culture at that time and season)

Viewing this video was an exercise worth it's weight in gold for the opportunity for me to expose my boys to what they will come across in the world. Even if they do not become swayed by it themselves they will need to be prepared to give and answer in due season to someone who is caught in New Age philosophy's clutches. I want them to be prepared enough to be able to witness articulately the way of salvation to someone who is desperately lost even if they do not know it.

This is what I call a REAL high school education!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Let Prayer Change your Life

One of the many benefits of having an online book business is that we frequently are mixing with many gold mines of knowledge and inspiration (books) that are in my search list. I finally found Let Prayer Change Your Life by Becky Tirabassi. I have wanted this book for some time but never got around to ordering it. Now with the next three months ahead of me I have started tackling this great lagging discipline in my life since we have moved into the city 2 1/2 years ago. (Yea, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)

One of the impressions that I get already, in the first chapter, is that it is not prayer that will change your life but committed communion with God will. The time spent with Someone who not only loves us deeply and sacrificially but just being in His presence WILL change us into His likeness. What a promise!

Oh, how I long to change. (No, not my flesh, I expect that will put up a fight- but my spirit. ) How can you not want to know the author of the greatest story ever told, the God of creation and of all human history?

This is one of the three or four books to tackle in the next three months, along with a study on the character of God and the book of Proverbs and another book that has been chompin' at the bit, Child Training Tips: What I Wish I Knew When My Children Were Young by Reb Bradley! More on this great book in a few weeks as I get to start it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wacky Wednesday happens again!

What happens when you put two wacky boys in the same room with egg cartons, plastic Easter eggs and markers? They come up with wacky ideas to "scare" their niece when she comes to visit for Easter!

And yes, Abbie (3) was was duly impressed! I love watching my boys relationships with her develop. They think of her as such a delight and she loves them so much. (one of the many blessings of home education-your children are able to relate and bond with people of all ages, not just their peers.)

Obviously, Caden (10 months) is looking up to Graydon already!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Raising Healthy Eaters- Older Children

If you have visited my blog before and if you are a regular visitor you will by now have noticed one of my many passions in life is Health and Nutrition. I started this blog in order to process the many messages floating around in my mind and to be a blessing to others as I share my journey in the areas that I have both stumbled and found success.

We do hope that our children also share our passions even if just for the fellowship sake and simply because we believe in them so strongly. My daughter-in-law is just one such amazing daughter. She has come a long way in her fight for her own health over the years and has been one of the fastest learners I have ever met! Never have I had a student (even though she has been very much self motivated to learn on her own) come so far in so short a time.

She truly is God's gift to my son and his children in providing well for her family but additionally to me and my family. Needless to say, I'm very proud of her and her very successful blog, Keeper of the Home.

She has been regularly posting on her series Raising Healthy Eaters (and doing an excellent job of it, I might say-that is raising a healthy eater Abbie, 3 , and Caden, 10 months and doing an excellent job of writing on the subject as well)

I am so excited and honored to be invited to present a guest post on the topic of Raising older children to be Healthy Eaters . Check it out here and if you still have little ones at home learning to like good natural food or if you have older children and wish to start over and re instill some healthy habits. Then come back and let me know what you think.

It's my first guest appearance and I'm real nervous!